'Fun, quirky'

Mary Wicoff|Commercial-NewsCharacters in "Rapunzel" perform for school children Wednesday. At left are Rapunzel's parents, Walter Shwartzbuckle (Isaiah Easton) and Rene Shwartzbuckle (Amanda Brown); in the middle are King Zeek Furaday (Jonas Lane) and Queen Petunia Furaday (Olivia Cronkhite); and are right are Prince Bumpus (Ben Vice) and Prince Markie (Braedon Pierce).

DANVILLE — Children and adults can let their hair down at this weekend’s production of “Rapunzel.”

Red Mask Players’ spring children’s show will be presented to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Kathryn Randolph Theater, 601 N. Vermilion St. Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Jamey Coutant, director, said a lot of people think this is Disney's animated "Tangled," but it's not. Instead, it's true to the German fairy tale, "Rapunzel."

"It's fun, it's quirky," Coutant said. "It will appeal to all ages."

There's a lot of humor in the hour-long show, she added.

"Rapunzel" was done by Red Mask Children's Theater years ago, Coutant said.

The children in the cast are rehearsing a lot this week. They're giving daily performances at the theater for students in kindergarten through sixth grades from Salt Fork, Oakwood, Judith Giacoma and Danville District 118 elementary schools.

"It gives them a taste of what live theater is like," she said of the young audience. "They seem to enjoy it."

Nancy Henderson, second vice president on the Red Mask board, said Red Mask feels it is important to provide opportunities to see live theater for those who might not have a chance, and also to get young people interested in performing.

“We have seen over and over how the experiences of performing have helped young people do well in whatever they pursue later in life,” she said.

On Wednesday, the MATS class from Mark Denman School enjoyed the performance, and then stayed afterward for some hands-on lessons.

Amanda Coutant, president of the Red Mask board, gave them a history of the theater, noting that the building itself is 117 years, and has undergone renovations. Red Mask has been in the building since 1962.

Some young actors from the play also talked about what it's like to audition, and the importance of the set, script, costumes — and especially, practice.

Jamey Coutant said the cast for "Rapunzel" includes both veterans and newcomers; they're all in third through eighth grade. A new generation of actors is coming up, she said.

The actor who plays Rapunzel, Sarah Beth Tabels, is a newcomer who's doing well, Coutant said. The girl also is performing with a handicap — a broken arm in a sling.

Other cast members are: Isaiah Easton and Amanda Brown as Walter and Rene Shwartzbuckle; Ally Mackiewicz, Eva Harper, Conner Courson and Caleb Courson as the Glumpwarts; Asiah Brown as Witch Izwitch; Jonas Lane as King Zeek Furaday and Olivia Cronkhite as Queen Petunia; Ben Vice, Braedon Pierce and Trevor McCall as the princes; Lizzie Skovran as Parsley, Bailee Easton as Rosemary and Emma Cosat as Thyme; Doyle Carter, Christian Giles and Jackson Gibson as the knights; and Izzy Courson, Luci Morris and Anjoelina Anderson as the jesters.

Although this is a busy weekend, Coutant said she hopes people take time to catch one of the four performances.

Red Mask presents a children's show twice a year, in the spring and fall.

FYI

Learn more, including how to audition, at http://redmaskplayers.com/childrens-theater/

All tickets are $6, general seating, and may be purchased at the door. Doors open 45 minutes before each performance.